Still in search of a good finish on clay in 2021, at the Mutua Madrid Open Roberto Bautista is looking to improve on previous performances in the Caja Mágica. The semi-finals he reached in the 2014 at his home Masters 1000 remain his best result here.
He took his first step towards that mark on Tuesday as he saw off Marco Cecchinato, in three sets (6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5) after two hours and 29 minutes in a Manolo Santana Stadium in which he lost on his last appearance at the #MMOPEN to David Ferrer.
Bautista could have come through the challenge in straight sets, serving in the second to close out the match in the twelfth game after breaking back in the ninth. However, the Italian 2018 French Open semi-finalist saved three match points.
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 4, 2021
The semi-finals at the Miami Open and the finals lost in Doha and Montpellier this year, all on hard court, have allowed Bautista to position himself for an assault on the Top 10 for the first time since September last year. To make the breakthrough, the ninth seed will be looking to kick-start his European clay swing at the #MMOPEN.
John Isner will stand in the way of the world No. 11 in the second round on Wednesday. The match with the American will be the fourth in the Arantxa Sánchez Stadium and it could allow the player from La Plana to match his 2016 result, when he reached the third round, only for the then world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to send him packing before the quarters.
His opener at the #MMOPEN was a trial by fire for a Bautista who did not hide the fact that he felt that he had the game under control but “it fell apart and I found myself in a third set. But I kept on fighting and, despite the fact that I’d been knocked down, I was able to put those thoughts out of my mind”.
“All matches against Isner are tough but you have to accept it like in Miami when I beat
him 9-7 in the tiebreak after saving a match point”, noted the Castello native of his next